Under the covers

The cover that KDP gave me

Getting the cover right took a fair amount of time. All the advice blogs and author group pages and guides from Amazon put a lot of emphasis on a high-resolution cover image as a basis. Get the cover right and success becomes a possibility. Screw it up and you can never thrive.

My main characters are a skinny geek, and a well-rounded Indian lady. Do I want a nerd selling my book? No way!

So I went looking for:

  • Female
  • Indian
  • Well-stacked
  • Nude
  • But not too nude for an Amazon cover
  • Swimming or massaging/being massaged
  • Vertical format

There were any number of stock images with some or most of these attributes. But although I felt a bit like a porno queen browsing through pages and pages of images of women evidently enjoying themselves, nothing jumped out.

I put in a few keyword combinations, and nude candlelight came up with some truly mouth-watering images that could well hang in art galleries, but the one that jumped out at me was not even obviously female. But I loved the way the candle was lighting up a well-rounded bit of her anatomy. As it happens, the master image was quite horizontal, but if cropped could be a sort of vertical slice of womanhood with a candle dripping wax.

I paid for a download, did a bit of manipulation in Lightroom, then created a cover on that wonderfully practical site Canva.com. About a million fonts and styles to play with, and when everything was arranged nicely, I hit the download button.

It looked good, so I uploaded my story to Amazon, and when it came to uploading my cover image, I found that it didn’t accept the PNG format Canva had given me.

I wasn’t keen on interrupting the process once begun, so I did my best to design a cover within Amazon’s upload tool. It worked out kind of okay, I thought, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted.

It lasted a day – I still don’t think anyone has even looked at it! – before I returned to Canva to discover that I could actually download a JPEG file.

I’ve re-uploaded my book, this time with the right cover, and we’ll see how that goes.

I’m not a graphic designer by any means, but I think it looks okay. What do you think?



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